Top Car Winter Emergency Kit Essentials
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Though driving a car may be fun, it can also bring several risks and hazards. That's especially true when you're on the road in severe weather conditions.
Even during ideal warm weather, dry road conditions, collisions can occur, and occasional mechanical issues arise, like blowouts, engine breakdowns, and running out of fuel.
Rainy conditions bring additional challenges, like a slippery road surface, decreased visibility, longer braking distances, and an increased chance of an accident.
Perhaps the riskiest scenarios occur during winter weather when snow falls, and you can't see the road, other vehicles might lose control, and your tires can barely grip the road. And if you experience trouble on the road during severe weather, far from home, being stranded presents a serious problem.
But you can protect yourself and your passengers from winter weather difficulties by packing a winter car emergency kit.
A winter car kit gives you extra insurance during snowy weather, keeping you comfortable while help arrives and assisting you with other winter-related hazards.
Let's look at the ideal elements of a helpful but affordable winter survival kit.
Winter driving tips
Prevention goes a long way toward avoiding a troubling situation during winter driving. By following a few good practices, you can keep yourself safer in the snow.
Snow tires are one of the most effective ways to enhance traction and safety when driving in snow and ice. Snow tires have a unique design featuring "siping" grooves in the tread blocks for tenacious grip and unique rubber compounds that remain flexible during below-freezing temperatures.
When you encounter snow and ice while driving, using smooth inputs on the controls allows your vehicle to maintain traction while accelerating, braking, and cornering. Sudden inputs during winter storms might cause tires to break free of the road surface, potentially leading to slides or spins. Gradually pressing the accelerator and brake pedals and making subtle movements of the steering wheel enhance safety in icy conditions.
Traction conditions continually evolve during ice and snow, and monitoring their levels helps you gauge available acceleration, braking, and cornering limits. One good way of doing this is by observing the Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TSC), and Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) warning lights.
If you notice the pulsating action of your ABS while attempting to brake, you know there's an icy, slick surface underneath the tires. Or, if you're accelerating or rounding a corner and the TCS or ESC indicator lights flash on the dashboard, it's time to slow things down and drive with an extra layer of caution.
Paying attention to the road's appearance during snowy weather can provide you with hints about its current condition. Looking out for whether the road has a matte appearance or an icy sheen can help you know what to expect ahead. Usually, dry, freshly fallen snow offers better traction because tires can lock into it and propel your car forward. But wet, slushy snow makes your tires ride above the road surface, decreasing grip and safety.
Buying a used vehicle can save you thousands versus purchasing a new one. Maybe you need a car with all-wheel drive for enhanced winter safety but don't know where to find one in excellent condition. Finding a seller you can trust can be a hassle, and pre-owned vehicles might have unseen mechanical issues. But Shift makes buying a new-to-you car easy. Shift's certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every car and have complete vehicle history reports, so you know your used car feels as good as new. Shift's website has a large selection of fully inspected vehicles located across the country that are ready to go. The website is user-friendly, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget. Want to take a test drive before you buy? If you live in one of Shift's many service areas, a concierge will drive to you, letting you get a feel for the performance before signing the papers.
Winter emergency car kit
With so many hazards to prepare for during winter driving, compiling a winter car safety kit might seem like a complicated task. That's why purchasing a ready-made one makes it easy to be ready for an emergency situation. But if you're a do-it-yourselfer, putting together your own winter car kit allows you to customize what you bring along.
Whether you buy a winter car safety kit or make your own, making sure it has several emergency supplies keeps you safe on hazardous roads.
Jumper cables are there for you if your battery runs out of juice in cold weather and you need a charge to start the engine. Or, for the utmost preparedness, a battery booster has all the voltage you need to get the motor running and back to safety.
During particularly challenging snow weather, your car might slide off of the road and become stuck in the snow. And when you drive and extricate your vehicle, tires may helplessly slip, leaving you stuck for hours. That's why packing a portable snow shovel gives you a handy tool for digging out of stubborn snow and clearing a path for your car to rejoin the highway.
During the winter, layers of ice typically form on the windshield, rear window, and door windows. Having an effective ice scraper on hand helps you break through the surface and clear away obstructions for a clear view of the road. The best ice scrapers come with an attached snow brush, so you can sweep the surface clean after scraping.
For emergency preparedness against being stranded during a snowstorm, packing items like space blankets, hand warmers, rain ponchos, boots, and a hat guard you and your passengers from the elements.
A flashlight and roadside emergency kit with triangles and road flares assist you when the skies turn dark.
When custom building your own winter car kit, additional items can include a cell phone charger, first aid kit, tire chains, space blanket, and a tow rope.
Winter car essentials in summary
Driving in snow and ice can be dangerous, causing sliding, collisions, and various mechanical issues.
Preventative measures like gradual steering inputs, winter tires, and monitoring traction levels can assist you in maintaining control and avoiding troublesome scenarios.
And packing a winter emergency car kit, either homemade or pre-built, gives you several tools for dealing with scenarios like a drained battery, being stuck in deep snow, or keeping warm in freezing temperatures while help arrives.
If you live in a wintery climate, owning a vehicle that can handle ice and snow enhances safety and gives you peace of mind. Pickup trucks, Jeeps, and all-wheel-drive wagons make snowy driving a breeze with their four-wheel traction and reassuring safety features like electronic stability control. But when you're in the market for a winter-ready car, where can you find one that stands the test of time? With Shift's best-in-industry service contracts, you know your vehicle's good to go for the long haul. With a Shift Vehicle Protection plan, not only are essential components covered, but you also receive roadside assistance. Wherever you happen to be in the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada, help is just a toll-free phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
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April 15, 2022
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